If, like a lot of tradies, you’re sick of spending hours each month chasing up payments, it’s worth considering a system for invoicing and taking payments with a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) solution.
Due to technology, there are now many mobile platforms which enable clients to pay you with a credit or debit card or online account balance then and there, via a smartphone or tablet.
This reduces the need to stress about or spend time chasing payments.
Read on for the lowdown on mobile payment options and how to choose one for your tradie business.
A mobile POS or ‘mPOS’ as it is known is a portable point-of-sale that is set up on a smartphone or a tablet. It works as a mobile register for taking payments.
mPOS can be used in a variety of ways, depending on the system chosen.
For example, you might get a physical reader that attaches to a mobile device, and which cards are swiped through for a transaction. This is much like swiping your card through an EFTPOS terminal in a store.
Another option, and one which is increasingly common, is to download a POS application from the payment gateway provider you want to use. Once this is done, you simply manually key card details into the app.
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Alternatively, if you allow people to pay you using PayPal, Apple Pay or another mobile ‘wallet’ type of system, instead of you keying in their card details, customers will login to their account and transfer funds from there.
No matter which type of system you select, though, transactions can be completed as quickly as just a few seconds, and you will usually have funds in your account within a day or two.
When deciding on an mPOS option, always compare features and costs carefully.
Know what kind of functionality you need right now, as well as what you could require in the future, and then choose something that will scale with your needs.
Most tradies usually only require a fairly basic system that will enable them to process a variety of debit or credit cards.
But you may decide you’d like to be able to incorporate additional features, like a loyalty program, payments via gift card, or inventory management functionality.
As you compare providers, consider the flexibility in the plans they have on offer, too.
Some mobile payment systems will charge a flat rate per month for a certain number of transactions, while others will charge a set rate per transaction.
Others may do some combination of the two, and have different plans for different levels of income and transactions received over a period.
If you feel like your business is going to grow significantly over the coming year(s), it’s best to choose a flexible payment system which allows movement between plans.
Keep an eye out for potential ‘hidden’ fees, too.
Have a good read over contracts before you commit to anything, to see if providers charge extra for things like customer support, quicker deposits of funds, integration of software, or the ability to accept certain payment types (such as Diners or AMEX).
Security is another important factor to examine when comparing mPOS solutions.
Always opt for a service which takes security very seriously and will keep your own financial and business details secure, as well as those of your customers.
Choose tech which doesn’t keep credit card number or other information on file, and which does regular updates.
Software providers should release new and improved versions of software regularly, plugging any gaps in security which open up over time.
While a lot of mobile point-of-sale solutions are easy to set up and use these days, unfortunately issues may still crop up with even the best software.
As such, it pays to choose a program which offers customer service.
If you ever do get stuck, such as with the system being down for too long or some sort of bug stopping payments from going through, you need a customer support team to contact for assistance.
Look for an mPOS solution that offers service 365 days a year, and is available via methods such as phone calls, emails, and live chat.